Understanding the use of mobile phones in difficult circumstances.

This is a chapter from a recent collection of essays in community & social informatics. It is probably pushing the boundaries a bit, but we need to get political.

Stillman, L. (2014). Understanding the use of mobile phones in difficult circumstances. Theories, practices and examples for community and social informatics. T. Denison, M. Sarrica and L. Stillman. Clayton, Vic. : , Monash University Publishing 127-149.

Phones in Difficult Circumstances 2014

The Capability Approach and Community Informatics

Larry Stillman, Tom Denison: The Capability Approach Community Informatics

The Information Society (2014)  30(3): 200-211.
“This article integrates key theories and concepts associated with the Capability Approach to community informatics (CI), a domain of sociotechnical theory and practice concerned to improve the lives of people in need. While the social value propositions for community informatics are useful for orienting pragmatic research and practice, they are currently not well considered theoretically.Sociological theory is therefore explored to provide a stronger anchor to community informatics as compared to the narrower theoretical agenda of information systems. Within this framework, the Capability Approach is identified as one example of a strong social theory with potential for adaptation into community informatics. This would have several effects, including strengthening internal theory, and building capacity to engage in stronger dialogue with other disciplines, including sociology and information systems. This new approach to CI theory via sociological theory
also allows for the adaptation and testing of other bodies of theory”

Capability Approach, TIS 2014

The Informationalisation of the Australian Community Sector

Rebecca French and Larry Stillman

Based on research in Australia, this article offers explanatory concepts about how welfare workers deal with contradictions between the rationalising ‘informationalisation’ of welfare system governance and the demands of people-centred welfare practice, or ‘technologies of care’. While the situation in Australia with respect to the relationship between government, funders and welfare workers may not be mirrored in other places, the concepts are relevant for the development of local research, insights and practice. Suggestions are also made for further action to bridge the gap between information systems design and welfare practice through the adoption of a dialogic and representational system for more effective interoperable design that reflects the needs of the major parties involved, including funders, designers and particularly welfare workers.

Keywords: Social-technical systems, data doubles, electronic children, bricolage, informationalisation, governmentality, electronic welfare work.

Social Policy & Society (2014)  doi:10.1017/S1474746414000098

Article, SPS 2014

Participatory Action Research & Inclusive Information and Knowledge Management for Empowerment

A ‘Note’ from ICTD ‘13 Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Information and Communications Technologies and Development: Notes – Volume 2 Pages 163-166
ACM New York, NY, USA ©2013 “Participatory Action Research & Inclusive Information and  Knowledge Management for Empowerment”

This Note discusses current and prospective research into understandings of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and its relationship to the development of inclusive and pluralistic forms of Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) in ICT4D/ICTD contexts through the Oxfam Australia-Monash University Partnership. It is intended that an innovative demonstration project to trial new ways of implementing  PAR & pluralistic  IKM will be  then be  undertaken with international development NGOs with an aim to more widespread adoption of these techniques.

Ictd-Cape Town 2013

Using Interviews Effectively in Community Informatics

This is a  paper from some years ago about techniques for good interviews. It’s basic, but I think there are some basic rules that need to be followed in the collection of interview data. Technology has moved on a bit. You can now use Livescribe for recording and notetaking, but Express Scribe is still a great tool.   But there is nothing like being a very careful observer to all that goes on, both verbally and non-verbally.

Stillman, L. (2007). Using interviews effectively in community informatics. Researching with Communities: Grounded perspectives on engaging communities in research A. Williamson and R. deSouza. Auckland, Muddy Creek: 371-383.PDF